As a parent, you want the best for you child. You want to make sure that your child stays healthy with a proper diet and gets the nutrients needed for a healthy growing body. The regular check-ups at your pediatrician are also very important to help you with your goals. Also think about that your influence as a role model plays a major part when you as a parent guide your children towards a healthy lifestyle.
At the bottom of the page you will find useful print materials for parents, all based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Regular check-ups at your Pediatrician
To maintain your child’s health, the American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes the importance of regular check-ups for your child. Pediatric well-child visits include a complete physical examination. Your child’s growth and development will be checked. Hearing, vision and other tests will also be part of the check-ups as preventive measures to keep your child healthy. Detecting unexpected changes at an early stage could be crucial for the child’s future health. You will be provided with health counseling, preventive care, and early detection in order to maximize your child’s health. It’s recommended to see the pediatrician as follows:
0-1 year: The first visit at the pediatrician should be done 3-5 days after the baby is born. Additional visits should be scheduled after 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months.
1-2 years: After the child’s first birthday, additional visits should be scheduled after 15 months, 18 months, and 24 months, and 30 months.
3-21 years: After the child’s third birthday, additional visits should be scheduled once each year until the child turns 21 years old.
Your Child’s Growth Curve
As mentioned above, it’s important to visit your pediatrician regularly to check your child’s weight and height. Your pediatrician will monitor your child’s growth curve and see if it follows a normal pattern. An unexpectedly change in growth charts may be a sign of poor health or poor diet. A child between the ages of 2 and 5 gains on an average about 4-5 pounds each year, and grows about 2 ½ inches taller each year.
We all know that a nutrition rich diet is important for a healthy growing body. There are however other factors determining your child’s weight and height, besides a nutrition rich diet. The health status of your child can also affect growth, especially if your child has a chronic illness. Sleep is another important factor for growth, and preschoolers need 11-14 hours of sleep a day, including naps. Growth also depends on sex. Preschool boys and girls grow differently, where boys usually are taller than girls but weigh about the same as girls until puberty. Then there is the genetic factor that also plays a role in your child’s growth. If your child has tall parents, he/she is likely to be taller than the other children, and vice versa.
Besides nutrition, health status, sleep, sex and genetics, there is yet another powerful factor that determines your child’s growth when it comes to his/her weight and overall health – and that is your powerful influence as a role model.
You are a Role Model
You, as a parent, are the most important role model for your children and can inspire them to live a healthy lifestyle. Your children imitate you, and they pay more attention to your actions, than your words. This means that if you want your children to eat healthy and exercise, remember that telling them to do this is not as effective as showing them. Show your kids that you yourself enjoy staying healthy by eating right and staying physically active, every day.
Be a Positive Role Model – Set Good Examples
Children love to copy their parents. Children learn from watching their parents. Your child is likely to mimic your likes and dislikes, your willingness to try new foods, table manners and your physical activities so it’s important to set good examples. Focus on the meal and each other. Make family dinner enjoyable and turn off the television. Take your calls and texts later. Make sure that you eat together as often as possible and let your child see that you enjoy healthy foods. Cook together and try new foods together. Introduce one new food product at a time. Offer it many times as new foods can take time to get used to. Let your child try a small portion of the new food at the beginning of the meal when he/she is hungry. Explain what’s so good with the new foods, e.g. the taste, the smell, the texture. Don’t make negative comments about unfamiliar foods. Instead, keep things positive.
Start Good Habits Early
Start good habits at an early age. Don’t let your child watch too much TV. Set the limit to a maximum of 2 hours a day, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Also, inspire your child to be physical active. Remember that your child loves to copy you so make time to walk, run and play with your child rather than sitting on the sidelines.
For more tips on how to be a good role model, see posters and tip sheets by the USDA below. These print materials, will give you useful tips on parenting. You will learn how to help your kids implement healthier eating habits, and eat less sugar and more fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, if your child is a picky eater, the valuable tips below will inspire your child towards eating healthy. Print out these wonderful posters and put them on your wall. Get inspired and become a positive role model for your children.
Print Materials for Parents – by the USDA
Parenting Tips – Be a Positive Role Model for Children
Parenting Tips – Daily Food Plan for Preschoolers (2-5 years)
Print Materials for Parents – by the Dairy Council of California
The resources below by the Dairy Council of California, are based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These resources are consistent with the MyPlate recommendations.
Are you looking for more print materials?
If you are looking for print materials that your children can enjoy, please visit MyPlate for Kids. In that section you will find material intended for children, to teach them healthy eating habits in fun and easy ways. Introduce your children to the coloring sheets on MyPlate and the fun online game called the “Blast Off Game”, plus many more games.
For more tips on how to implement healthier eating habits, please visit the section called MyPlate for Adults. You will find wonderful print materials and posters to help you live a healthy life style.